DRI seizes valuables of  10.48 cr after busting gold smuggling syndicate in Mumbai; 4 held

07:52PM Wed 24 Apr, 2024

Mumbai, The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has busted a gold smuggling syndicate in Mumbai and seized the precious metal, cash and other valuables of ₹10.48 crore, a DRI official said on Wednesday.

The DRI had received an input that gold smuggled from Africa through the Mumbai international airport was being processed at a melting facility in Zaveri Bazar here to remove the foreign markings and it was then being diverted to the local market, the official said in a statement.

During the search at the melting facility, the officials seized 9.31 kg of gold in various forms, including of foreign-origin, and 16.66 kg of silver.

They nabbed the unit operator and a recruiter, who was responsible for arranging carriers, collecting the smuggled gold from African nationals for melting and further processing, the statement said.

The recruiter was a key member of the syndicate. He used to collect gold from carriers who were African nationals, get it processed and hand it over to a buyer nearby, it said.

After the interrogation of the accused persons, a search was conducted at the recruiter's office premises and the DRI recovered USD 190000 in cash which had been allegedly handed over to him by a buyer as advance payment for the smuggled gold, the statement said.

Another team was sent to search the buyer's office premises but he fled before the DRI sleuths reached there, he said.

During the search, 351 grams of cut pieces of foreign-origin gold bars, 1,818 grams of silver and ₹1.92 crore in cash were recovered from there, the statement said.

The DRI personnel came to know that the African nationals from whom the recruiter had collected the gold were staying in nearby hotels.

Accordingly, a raid was conducted at the hotel and two persons who allegedly smuggled the gold and handed it over to the recruiter were intercepted, the DRI said.

All the four accused admitted to their involvement in the smuggling of gold into India following which they were arrested under provisions of the Customs Act, it said.